More than two-thirds of KKL forests and sites – 46 out of 68 – conceal or are located on the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished by Israel. Nurit Kliot shows that one purpose of KKL’s afforestation activities is to take over land to prevent “trespassing.”(1) The Supreme Court determined that afforestation in Israel justifies the expropriation of land even for settlement and development purposes, rejecting the suit by refugees from al-Lajjun to reclaim a small portion of their land on which Megiddo forest stands today.(2) Michal Kortoza, who’s in charge of KKL signage, has said that “many of the JNF - KKL parks are located on land where Palestinian villages once stood; the forests are there to conceal this.” The fact that some JNF - KKL forests covering the ruins of Palestinian village have no names and that some are not cared for nor accessible for hiking or leisure activities shows their sole purpose is to take over land and cover up the remains of villages in order to prevent the refugees’ return. This important Zionist organization is also directly responsible for the demolition of some Palestinian villages, acting, of course, on behalf of the state.
The New KKL exhibit included a complete list of these JNF - KKL forests and parks.(3) Here are the 46 KKL forests and parks located on 89 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel – 87 during the Nakba and two in the 1967 war.
Khirbat Marut - Marus
Maghar Hills - al-Maghar
al-Qastal National Park - al-Qastal
Zmorot Pond Nature Reserve - Bayt Daras
Aminadav Forest - al-Walaja
Ramot Isahar Scenic Road - al-Murasas
Naftali Mountains - al-Nabi Yusha, Qadas, Harrawi, Hunin
Kabul Grove - al-Damun
Ein Dor Grove - Indur
Tamra Grove - al-Ruways
Asseret Grove - Bashit
Be'er Nahash - Dayr Nakhkhas
Qula Forest - Qula
Tsipori Grove - Safuriyya
Hodaya recreation area - Julis
Biriyya Forest - Fir'im, Ayn al-Zaytun, Ammuqa, Qabba'a, Mughr al-Khayt
Beit Ha'emek Forest - Kuwaykat
Yehiam Forest - al-Ghabsiyya
Ben Shemen Forest - Jimzu, Dayr Abu Salama, Khirbat Zakariyya, Haditha, Khirbat al-Duhayriyya
Bar'am Forest - Fara
Hagilboa Forest - Nuris, al-Mazar
Hakdoshim Forest - Aqqur, Dayr 'Amr, Bayt Umm al-Mays, Khirbat al-'Umur, Kasla
Hacarmel Forest - Ayn Ghazal, al-Sawamir, Jaba
Haruvit Forest - Idniba
Kfira Forest - Bayt Thul, Nitaf
Kfar Hahoresh Forest - Ma'alul
Lavi Forest - Lubya
Megido Forest - al-Lajjun
Sataf Forest - Sataf, Khirbat al-Lawz
Plugot Forest - al-Faluja, Karatiyya
Tsor'a (Hanasi) Forest - Sar'a
Kiryat Ata Forest - Hawsha
Rosh Tsipor Forest (Hayarkon Park) - Jarisha
Segev Forest - Mi'ar
Hacarmel Forests - Umm al-Zinat, Khirbat al-Damun
Begin Park - al-Qabu, Ras Abu 'Ammar
Britania Park - Ajjur, Dayr al-Dubban, Kudna
Hayarden Park - al-Butayha
Lehi Park - al-Qubab
The United States Independence Park - Allar, Dayr al-Hawa, Khirbat al-Tannur, Jarash, Sufla, Bayt 'Itab, Dayr Aban
Rabin Park - Bayt Mahsir, Islin, Saris, Bayt Jiz, Bayt Susin
Ramat Menashe Park - Abu Zurayq, Abu Shusha, al-Butaymat, al-Kafrayn, al-Rihaniyya, Daliyat al-Rawha, Khubbayza
Tel Izre'el - Zir'in
Tel Tsuba - Suba
Adolam-France Park - Khirbat Umm Burj
Ayalon-Canada Park - Yalu, Imwas, Bayt Nuba, Dayr Ayyub
Some of these forests have not been officially named by the KKL. Noga Kadman and Eitan Bronst’Ain Aparicio named them: Kabul Grove, Ein Dor Grove, Tamra Grove, Asseret Grove, Be’er Nahash Grove, Qula Forest, Tzippori Grove, Beit Ha’emek Forest, Yehiam Forest.
Twenty-two KKL forests are not located on the ruins of Palestinian villages: Ilanot Forest in the Sharon, Be’eri Forest, Beit Keshet Forest, Dvira Forest, Kings-Shahariyya Forest, Hulda Forest, Hanita Forest, Hatzerim Forest, Jerusalem Forest, Yattir Forest, Lahav Forest, Landau Forest, Pisgat Ze’ev Neve Ya’akov Forest, Rosh Ha’ayin Forest, Swiss Forest, Nahal Gerar Park, Agmon HaHula Park, Adamit Park, Ofakim Park, Golda Park, Goren Park, Holland Park.
The New KKL exhibit displayed signs for 19 of these sites. Each sign was headed by the name of the JNF - KKL forest, followed by the names of the demolished villages on which the forest stands. Here they are:
Maghar Hills Park
al-Maghar (“The Cave”). Remains from the Canaanite period have been found on the site of the village. It had 2000 inhabitants in 1948, most of them Moslems. They lived in 280 structures constructed of mud, concrete and stone. The school had 190 pupils. The village had 15,390 dunums of land of which 2,659 had been sold to Jews. al-Maghar was captured on 15 May 1948; the JNF - KKL demolished its buildings. Beit El'azari, a moshav, was established on its land; four of the village buildings still exist and are in use.
Ramot Menashe Park
Abu Zurayq had 640 inhabitants. Kibbutz Hazore'a uses some of its land.
Abu Shusha (Haifa) had 830 inhabitants.
al-Kafrayn had 1,070 inhabitants. The IDF uses some of its land for training.
Dalyat alRuha’a had 330 inhabitants. Ein Hashofet is located on its land.
These villages were captured in April, 1948.
al-Butaymat had 130 inhabitants. It was demolished by the JNF - KKL. Kibbutz Gal'ed was established in 1945 on land that had been purchased from the village.
al-Rihaniyya had 280 inhabitants. Ramat Hashofet uses its land.
Khubbayza had 340 inhabitants. Kibbutz Gal'ed uses some of its land.
These three villages were captured in May, 1948.
Bayt Jiz had 640 inhabitants. Har’el, Zalfon and Gizu were established on its land.
Bayt Mahsir had 2,780 inhabitants. Beit Me'ir was established on its site, and Mesilat Zion on its land.
Bayt Susin had 240 inhabitants. Ta’oz was established on its land.
These villages were captured in May, 1948.
Saris had 650 inhabitants when it was captured in April, 1948. Shoresh and Sho’eva were established on its land.
'Islin had 300 inhabitants on the eve of its capture in July, 1948. Moshav Eshta’ol was established on its land.
American Independence Park
Bayt 'Itab had 630 inhabitants. Nes Harim and Bar Giora were established on its land.
Dayr Aban had 2,440 inhabitants. Mahasiyya, Yish’I and Beit Shemesh were built on its land.
The small village of Dayr al-Hawa had 70 inhabitants.
Jarash had 220 inhabitants. Part of Moshav Zanoah was established on its land.
The small village of Khirbat al-Tannur had ten houses.
The small village of Sufla had 70 inhabitants.
Ala’ar had 510 inhabitants. Moshav Mata and Kibbutz Bar Giora were established on its land.
These villages were captured in October, 1948.
Dayr al-Dubban had 850 inhabitants. It had 7,784 dunums of land. Luzit was established on its land.
Kudna had 520 inhabitants and 15,744 dunums of land. Beit Nir was established on its land.
The town of 'Ajjur had 4,330 inhabitants. In addition to farming, they were carpenters, leather workers and shoemakers. Agur, Tirosh, Li-On, Tzafririm and Giv’at Yeshayahu were established on its 58,074 dunums of land.
These three villages were captured in October, 1948.
Al Qabu had 300 inhabitants when it was captured in October, 1948. The springs of ‘Ayn Tuz and ‘Ain al-bayda provided water for agriculture. Its land was transferred to Israeli sovereignty in April, 1949, under the armistice agreement with Jordan. Mevo Beitar was established on its land.
Ras abu 'Ammar had 720 inhabitants when it was captured in October, 1948. Wadi al Srar (Nahal Sorek) surrounded it on three sides. All the villagers were Moslems. They cultivated grains, vegetables and fruit trees on the 8,342 dunums of village land. Tsur Hadassah was established on its land.
Yalu had 1,700 inhabitants and two schools, for boys and for girls.
‘Imwas had 2,000 inhabitants. A building dedicated to the military leader Abu Ubaida Ibn al-Jarah was built there in the seventh century on the remains of a Roman bath house.
Bayt Nuba had 1,400 inhabitants. Mevo Horon was established on the site.
These three villages were captured in June, 1967.
Dayr Ayyub had 370 inhabitants until it was captured in May, 1948. In 1947 a school with 51 pupils had opened in the village.
Qula had 1,170 inhabitants until it was captured after heavy fighting in July, 1948. Hassan Salameh, the legendary fighter, was born there. The IDF used Qula’s buildings to train soldiers for urban combat. Givat Koah was established on the village’s site after 1948, but was later moved to a new location on the land of nearby Al Tira (Ramleh). The site contains remains of a Crusader fortress, a large khan and houses. Olive trees, fig trees and prickly pear cactus hedges planted by the villagers are still growing in a grove.
The town of al-Faluja had 5,240 inhabitants. There were shops, cafes, a clinic, a school for boys and a school for girls, with a plot of land for agricultural training. Merchants from the region came to the town’s twice-weekly market to sell their goods. The town was captured in May, 1948; Sderot and Or HaNer were established on its land.
Karatiyya had 1,590 inhabitants when it was captured in July, 1948. The local school had 130 pupils. The moshavim Revaha, Shahar, Nahora and Komemiyut were established on its land.
Sataf had 630 inhabitants when it was captured in July, 1948. No localities were established on the site or on its land; it became a popular educational/tourist destination. The information provided on site doesn’t adequately describe its history.
Khirbat al-Lawz had 520 inhabitants when it was captured in July, 1948. It had 4,502 dunums of land. An ancient carob tree still grows in the village center. In the past it had been the focus of village social events like weddings and celebrations of births. The attempt to establish a locality called Luzim was unsuccessful.
al-Lajjun was captured in May, 1948. It had 1,280 inhabitants whose ancestors had come from Umm al-Fahm. The village had 77,000 dunums of land. Villagers cultivated grains, vegetables and citrus. There were two mosques, a market, a clinic, a khan, a school and shops. Six flour mills were powered by water from the nearby springs and wadis. Kibbutz Megiddo was established on land of the village, some of whose buildings still serve the kibbutz. A famous Israeli children’s story recounts the story of Pluto, a puppy from Kibbutz Megiddo who ran away and came to a pond. It was probably the al-Hajja spring in al-Lajjun.
The large village of Lubya had 2,730 inhabitants and 36,629 dunums of land of which 1,051 had been purchased by Jews. The villagers were farmers: they sowed wheat in the fertile Tur’an valley and planted olive trees on the slopes north of the village. Attempts by the Haganah to capture the village began in January, 1948, but organized resistance repulsed the attacks. A number of fighters on both sides were killed. The village was finally captured in July, 1948, without any fighting. Giv’at Avni, Lavie and the Golani industrial area were established on its land.
Bayt Thul had 300 inhabitants and 4,629 dunums of land; Jews had purchased 421 dunums of them before the state was established. Village agriculture was based on rainfall and irrigation from a spring.
Nitaf had 50 inhabitants, members of the Ibrahim family from Abu Ghosh. It had about 1,400 dunums of land. The founders of the Nataf communal settlement purchased 190 dunums from the Ibrahim family and established their locality where Nitaf had stood.
Both villages were captured between April and July, 1948.
Hof HaCarmel Forest
The large village of ‘Ayn Ghazal had 2,520 inhabitants and 18,079 dunums of land. A few refugees from the village live in Fureidis and care for the tomb of Sheikh Shehade that remained in the village. Moshav Ofer and part of Moshav ‘Ain Ayala were established on village land.
Jaba had 1,320 inhabitants. Geva Carmel was established on its land.
We have no information about the small village of al-Sawamir. Part of Moshav Ofer occupies its land.
These three villages were attacked from the air, sea and land and were captured in July, 1948, during a truce that had been declared in the fighting.
Harei Naftali Forest
al-Nabi Yusha had 80 inhabitants. It contains a holy site associated with the prophet Yusha (Joshua ben Nun). Moshav Ramot Naftali was established in 1948 in the fortified police post the British erected on village land.
Harrawi had 290 inhabitants, Bedouin from ‘Arab al-Hamdun.
Hunin had 1,880 inhabitants. Moshav Margaliot was established on its site; stones from the village’s homes were used to build “Beit Ussishkin” in Kibbutz Dan.
These three villages were captured in May, 1948.
Qadas had 450 inhabitants when it was captured in 1948. Kibbutz Yiftah was established on its land.
Kdoshim (Martyrs) Forest
Dayr ‘Amr was a small village with 12 inhabitants. Sixty orphans attended an agricultural school established there in 1942. The Eitanim Psychiatric Hospital was established on the site.
Kasla had 320 inhabitants. The moshavim Ramot Raziel and Kisalon were established on its land.
Beit Umm al-Mays was a small village with 80 inhabitants.
‘Aqqur was a small village with 50 inhabitants.
These four villages were captured in July, 1948.
Khirbat al-’Umar, which had 310 inhabitants, was captured in October, 1948. Giv’at Ye’arim was established on its land.
al-Mazzar had 313 inhabitants when it was captured in May, 1948. Prazon, Gan-Ner and Meitav were established on its land.
Nuris had 660 inhabitants and 6,256 dunums of land when it was captured in May, 1948. An elementary school opened there in 1888. The railroad from Haifa to Samah (Tzemah) ran northeast of the village. There were a number of springs north of the village; the most important, ’Ain Jalut (Ma’ayan Harod), was one of the largest in the country. Nurit was established on village land, abandoned a few years later and re-established in 2010.
Ben Shemen Forest
Haditha had 880 inhabitants when it was captured. Ben Gurion ordered it demolished; moshav Hadid was established on its land.
Jimzu had 1,750 inhabitants. Ben Gurion ordered it demolished; moshav Gamzu was established on its land.
Dayr Abu Salama had 70 inhabitants.
Khirbat al-Duhayriyya had 116 inhabitants.
The number of inhabitants in Khirbat Zakariyya is unknown.
These villages were captured in July, 1948.
Mughr al-Khayt had 570 inhabitants. Hatzor HaGlilit was established on a portion of its land.
‘Ayn al-Zaytun had 950 inhabitants. As soon as it had been captured, 70 villagers were bound hand and foot and later executed.
Ammuqa was a small village with 160 inhabitants.
Fir’im had 860 inhabitants. Part of Hatzor HaGlilit is located on village land.
Qabba'a had 530 inhabitants.
These villages were captured in May, 1948.
(1) Ideology and afforestation in Israel – Man-made Keren Kayemet LeYisrael forests (in Hebrew), Nurit Kliot http://geography.huji.ac.il/.upload/STUDIES_XIII/XIII-Kliot.pdf , p. 94.
(3) Based mainly on Kadman, Noga. Erased from Space and Consciousness. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015 (forthcoming), appendix B
Translation to English: Charles Kamen